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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 23, 2013 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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considerations such as the elimination of the detentions, and et cetera, so what's really important here is that we cannot cement discrimination into law. >> thank you. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris, thanks very much, my friend. thanks to you for staying with us for the next hour. on another day, frankly, of relentlessly breaking news all day long. the attorney general today wrote a letter to congress saying for the first time that four american citizens have been among the people killed by the u.s. government's drone program overseas. some of these u.s. citizens killed by drones were previously known, but at least one of them was not. this comes on the eve of the president's big civil liberties and national securities speech planned for tomorrow. we are told today that speech will also include a major announcement about starting up the process again of sending prisoners home from the prison at guantanamo. the former general council for the pentagon, jeh johnson, is here to talk about that and more, as well.
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a lot going on. today in congress, a senior official at the irs took the fifth and refused to answer questions from congress, while the george w. bush appointed commissioner of the irs, who left his job in november, but who was there through the whole conservative group's targeting scandal, he did answer questions and he got lame -- lambasted by both republicans and democrats. also today, the city of chicago announced they are going to be closing 50 schools in the city. that is the largest mass public school closing in u.s. history. chicago says the schools are underutilized, they want to consolidate the school district, but as you can see from this footage, a lot of the protesters in the city say otherwise. in the city of new york today is disgraced former congressman anthony weiner who left congress because he got caught distributing lewd photos of his himself on twitter and then lying about it, anthony
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weiner announced today in a video he is going to run for mayor this year. this year. yes, he is is ready to come back already. after the federal appeals court in the ninth circuit yesterday struck down arizona's law to ban abortions at 20 weeks, in washington today, house republicans announced plans for a national ban on abortion at 20 weeks. kind of unclear as the whole struck down as unconstitutional there. at west point, we found out a staff member, a staff adviser responsible for the health, welfare and discipline of 125 west point cadet, and that staff adviser has been relieved of his duties and charged with four counts of indecent acts, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment and violations of good order and discipline. the charges relate to the accusation that he planted hidden cameras in the showers and the locker room facilities of female cadets. as i say, it has been a day of unrelenting news. but in london today, a man
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was brutally attacked and killed on the streets of south london. it's the kind of incident that would be seen as just crime, as a local tragic incident of senseless violence, but for the motive and the means for which this particular crime was carried out. it happened just after 2:00 p.m. local time in southeast london near an army barracks there. a man was walking on the sidewalk from eyewitness and police accounts, what appears to have happened is two men driving a car appear to have steered on the sidewalk, exited the vehicle and then set upon the man they had just hit with the car and essentially cut him to pieces. they were armed with large knives, what appeared to have been at least a large kitchen knife and a cleaver and whether the man was dead already when they hit him with the car or whether they set upon him, whether killed him with the car or killed him after, regardless,
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in the end, it was these two men left standing covered in blood and not trying to flee the scene. this was in broad daylight in a well-trafficked area, lots of pedestrians around. there's a primary school nearby. some of the people who witnessed this attack are said to be parents picking up their kids at the end of the school day. look at this photo, though, this is one of the men who's thought to be one of the assailants. you can see he's holding a knife still in this photo. he has been approached by a passerby who is standing right next to him seemingly calmly having a conversation with him. another passerby with a camera shot a cell phone video of what seems to be the other assailant in the case. he is covered in blood and holding what looks to be two knives, two weapons, and he, fairly calmly, explains the whole thing to the guy who's filming him. on his cell phone. he blames british soldiers for killing muslims and says it is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. he says by the almighty allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. so what if we want to live by the shariah in muslim land and
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why does that mean that you must follow us, and call us extremists, and rather, you are the extremists and you are the ones. and then he goes on to say the british people should get rid of their government and western countries should get their troops out of muslim countries. nothing like getting a lecture on not wanting to be called an extremist on a man with a meat cleaver. and he appears to have just used it to kill someone on the street. the timing here, though, is remarkable. it is clear this was designed to be a public spectacle. the manner of the crime, the fact it was done in broad daylight in front of lots of passersby, the fact the men who appeared to be assailants waited around and engaged with passersby about what they had done afterwards, waiting for an opportunity to explain themselves. get this on film. from eyewitness accounts, the period after the crime before the police showed up appears to have gone on a long time, perhaps about 20 minutes before eventually armed police arrived
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on the scene and both of those men, the one that you see on the camera and the other one calmly walking by and talking to the passerby there. both men when police arrived were shot by police. neither of them was killed. they were both taken to the hospital. they are in custody and considered to be the suspects in this case. nbc news has confirmed that the victim in the case was an active duty british soldier. david cameron was abroad when the attack happened, he was in france, he called the attack the most appalling crime and said there are strong indications that this is a terrorist incident. yes, that would seem to be hard to dispute here, because at least one of those assailants went out of his way to tell us, in fact, it was, while he stood there covered in blood. this is not a subtle thing. i mean, had these guys fled the scene, it might have looked like, maybe, the work of an insane person or simply a random, senseless killing, but we now know it was designed as a spectable for maximum shock.
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that's terrorism. our own most recent experience of this kind of attack here in this country was just over a month ago in boston when again it appears to be two assailants, in this case two brothers, one of whom was killed by police and one is facing the death penalty on terrorism charges as he recovers from his injuries. that case and the one big mystery that remained after the tsarnaev brothers were found in boston, that case took a huge and unexpected turn today. at roughly the same time we were learning at this grotesque incident in london, we also got news from florida, we got news from orlando, florida, another person was not just being questioned in connection with the boston bombings case and with the other unsolved crime that was possibly associated with the boston bombers, but we got word that the person who was being questioned had been shot and killed by law enforcement during the questioning. >> 6:14 and we want to get you back to our breaking news in orange county. a suspect is dead following a confrontation overnight with an fbi agent. >> we're just learning investigators may have been looking into the boston marathon
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bombing and the person who lives here in orlando. >> the man who was killed while being questioned in an apartment is this man, a 27-year-old man who lives in florida now. but he previously lived in the boston area. and in the boston area, he had apparently been friends with the older of the two tsarnaev brothers, with tamerlan tsarnaev, the one who was killed by police just after the bombing. tamerlan tsarnaev and the man killed today in florida were of similar age, both of chechen origin, they were fighters, worked out at the same gym. tamerlan was a boxer, the guy killed today did mixed martial arts. law enforcement sources say the man they killed in florida was not a suspect in the boston bombings, but was a suspect in this other unsolved boston area triple murder that everybody has been wondering since the bombings whether or not it was connected to the bombing suspects. we reported about this on this show before, but before now, we have never been able to say that
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there was anything more than a coincidental link between these two stories, and now it appears that there was a real link. this happened in 2011, specifically on 9/11 that year, so september 11, 2011, it was a brutal murder in the quiet boston suburb of waltham, three men were killed by having their throat slit, one had a previous conviction of intent to sell marijuana. when the three bodies were found in waltham, their bodies were found strewn with marijuana, somebody had thrown marijuana all over them. sot lots of drugs were left on the scene, and almost $5,000 in cash was left on the scene, and these three big, fit healthy guy guys were all killed. one of the men who was killed was known to be a good friend of one of the boston bombings suspects, he was known to be friends with the older of the two tsarnaev brothers, tamerlan tsarnaev. since the bombing, there's been a lot of speculation whether that unsolved triple murder in 2011 might have been committed by tamerlan tsarnaev. for the first time today, we are
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told that tamerlan tsarnaev, who again is dead, is now considered to be a suspect in those unsolved waltham murders, as was the man who was killed today while he was being questioned about those murders by massachusetts state police and the fbi. now in terms of why this guy was killed today in florida during questioning, initial reports were that he lunged at the agents who were questioning him with a knife, then there were reports later in the day maybe the knife part of it was less clear, but according to the fbi, there was some sort of violent confrontation, physical confrontation, between this young man and the law enforcement officers who were questioning him in his apartment and that resulted in him being shot to death. the intersection of all of these horrible crimes and investigations and these loose threads and this ongoing counterterrorism work was at least one of these mysteries solved today. do we actually have more clarity here or do we have less? joining us now is "boston globe" reporter wesley lowery.
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he's in florida a few feet from the apartment complex where the shooting happened today. mr. lowery, thank you very much for joining us. >> of course, thanks so much for having me, rachel. >> what can you tell us at this hour in terms of new developments in the case that might contradict anything i just explained? >> of course, no, i think you had a very good synopsis there. essentially, what we know, this man, ibragim todashev was a man that was a friend of tamerlan tsarnaev's and moved down to florida in the last few months, and just got a florida driver's license back in february. was being questioned last night just a few feet to my right by fbi agents from boston, as well as other law enforcement officials about what, if anything, he knew, one, about the boston marathon bombing, but, two, about this 2011 grisly, very cruel homicide. our understanding and what we are hearing from our sourcing, and nbc has been reporting this as well that he was getting
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ready to sign a confession to his involvement in that murder and potentially to implicate tamerlan tsarnaev as well, when he became aggressive and lunged at the fbi agent and was shot and killed. the fbi is not saying much, but our sourcing is saying he became aggressive immediately before signing a written confession and that's when he was shot and killed. >> do you have any clarity on whether or not he was armed? there were some conflicting reports today about whether he might have injured the agents who he actually had this confrontation with and reports about whether he might have had a knife. >> you know, i've seen the reports about a knife, and i personally have not gotten confirmation on that. the fbi confirmed the agent was injured with nonlife threatening injuries, which may or may not be consistent there been having a weapon, but it is unclear in which the fbi would shoot and kill a suspect. details are very, very tight as they continue this investigation.
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like i said, a few feet away from me, they are continuing to investigate this apartment where this happened. >> i know that in these cases sometimes looking into the motive feels beside the point, especially when the suspects are dead, but, obviously, one of the big questions about this murder in waltham is whether it was a crime or as we usually understand it, or whether there might have been some any sort of political or extremist motivation for those murders? do we have any further clarity about whether any sort of motive was going to be part of that confession? >> you know, right now we really don't. what we've been hearing is that the man, the victim, or suspect who was killed here in florida was saying it was a robbery gone wrong. they realize these guys were friends of theirs who knew them, so robbing them of their drugs would leave them implicated, which is why they committed the murders. there was speculation when tamerlan tsarnaev was first tied to the murders maybe there was significance that occurred on the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but again, it's unclear if this was a crime that had any type of political or religious significance or if it was a very grisly drug crime.
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it's very unclear and the picture of tamerlan is still one being developed, because we don't know everything that we know about him, and it will be years before we do know all of the answers to the questions. >> to be clear, though, the man who was killed in florida is not considered, has been essentially cleared of any potential involvement in the boston marathon bombing, itself, is that right? >> of course. the fbi's saying right now they have nothing to indicate he had knowledge of it previously and/or he played any role. he was being investigated because he was a friend of tamerlan tsarnaev. he had his cell phone had been linked to tamerlan tsarnaev's, as well, they came down, interviewed him, he became a suspect in the waltham murder and to our knowledge he was beginning or had confessed to being involved in the triple homicide and was preparing a written statement when something went wrong in that room. >> boston globe reporter wesley lowery, thank you very much for helping us get through the details of this amazing story. >> thank you so much for having me. on the eve of a major
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address by president obama, the obama administration made a startling announcement today that nobody knew was coming and has big implications for stuff we thought we understood before, but now it turns out that we didn't understand the way it really was. what happened today with that late announcement, what it means. we have former pentagon general counsel jeh johnson joining us for the interview. please, stay with us. [ male announcer ] this is kevin.
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to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. that was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again, and now i gotta take more pills. ♪ yup another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. ♪ [ male announcer ] this may, buy aleve and help those in need. the attorney general of the united states broke some major
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news today in an unexpected way, took a lot of people by surprise. part of the reason we know that is because this wanted poster was still posted at fbi.gov this afternoon for several hours after the attorney general admitted in print this afternoon that actually this guy is no longer wanted, he's dead. so, he's not wanted anymore. shortly after the national security reporter, spencer ackerman, and a number of other folks started tweeting links to the poster, the fbi took it down. did the fbi really not know that that guy had been killed until the attorney general told congress and the general public about it this afternoon? i mean, they had a wanted poster out for him, so presumably, they were expending some fbi resources wanting the guy, right, looking for him. if they were looking for him but another agency of the u.s. government, presumably the cia or maybe the military, some other part of the u.s. government knew that that guy had been killed by us in a drone strike, did those other parts of
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the u.s. government really just not tell the fbi until they told the whole world today? was the fbi maybe just playing along with the rest of government in some sort of ruse the government was not admitting the guy was dead? i don't say that in a conspiratorial way, i say that in the way the government has been cagey in taking responsibility for killing people in u.s. counterterrorism efforts around the world. like this, for example, watch for the uncharacteristic use of the passive verb tense here. >> i want to say a few words about some important news. earlier this morning anwar al awlaki, a leader of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, was killed in yemen. the death -- [ applause ]
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-- the death of al awlaki is a major blow to al qaeda's most active affiliate. >> the president at an unrelated event there getting interrupted with applause that anwar al awlaki had been killed. that's the specific instructions he use the, al awlaki was killed. he was killed. well, how did that happen? today, a year and a half later in this letter sent to congress the u.s. government admitted, wasn't just that he was killed, wasn't just an observed phenomenon that he came to be dead, but rather he was killed by the united states. the attorney general went on into the letter to go into an elaborate explanation of why it was not just legal, but a good idea for the united states to kill anwar al awlaki, but rather that the united states specifically targeted and killed him. then the same letter today also goes on to name three other u.s. citizens who were also killed by the united states, even though they were not, quote, specifically targeted for killing.
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one of those three is the guy from the fbi wanted poster. again, this announcement about the u.s. killing him appears to be a bit of surprise today, including maybe even to the fbi, who wanted him. the other two are americans who were widely known to have been killed in u.s. drone strikes. one was anwar's teenaged son, who was killed after his father was killed, another guy thought to be involved with the al qaeda magazine. "making a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" thing. he was killed in the same strike that killed al awlaki's son in 2011. again, those two guys were widely thought to be killed by u.s. drone strikes, as was anwar al awlaki, despite the president's passive phrasing. when he described the fact that the guy was killed. those guys everybody pretty much figured had been killed by u.s. drone strikes, even though the government had never admitted to it before today. here's my question, actually, here's by questions, why didn't the government admit to these things before today? why did they admit to them today? and why was it the attorney general who made the admission? the attorney general doesn't direct the cia drone pilots or the military drone pilots who
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made these killings. why did we hear this from the attorney general? with the government basically admitting that only one of the four americans was killed on purpose, doesn't that mean that the government today admitted that the other three americans were killed essentially by accident, and if those were accident and mistakes, do their families get some sort of recourse for that? president obama's due to give a big national security and civil liberties speech tomorrow, a major address, and that clearly is driving the timing on some of this, but boy do i have questions. most of all, about whether or not all of this movement on this issue right now and this speech tomorrow means that things are going to be changing in this area or whether this big speech and bomb shell admission from the attorney general today means things are not changing, but the justifications for things are going to be changing. here next for the interview tonight is a man who actually can answer some of this stuff. until the end of last year, he was the top lawyer at the pentagon and he is our guest exclusively next.
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it's the foundation of anglo-american law, which says very simply, if the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask why was i grabbed and say, maybe you've got the wrong person.
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you know, the reason you have that safeguard is because we don't always have the right person. we don't always catch the right person. we may think this is mohammed the terrorist, it might be mohammed the cab driver. you may think it's barack the bomb thrower, but it might be barack the guy running for president. so, the point is, so the reason that you have this principle is not to be soft on terrorism, it's because that's who we are. that's what we're protecting. don't mock the constitution. don't make fun of it. don't suggest that it's un-american to abide by what the founding fathers set up. >> where necessary to a range of
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capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to americans. now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. that's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable, legal, and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. throughout, we have kept congress fully informed of our efforts. i recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way, so in the months ahead, i will continue to engage congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the american people and to the
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world. >> same man, same ideas, very different times. very different circumstances. today on the eve of what is expected to be a major policy address by the president on those issues, the obama administration released this letter. the attorney general writing this letter, owning up for the first time to american citizens being among those who u.s. counterterrorism efforts have killed abroad. why'd they do that today? how important is it, what's going to happen in this speech tomorrow? joining us now to help us understand some of this stuff, what to look for in the president's address is jeh johnson who served as president's private counsel in the first term, and now he's a lawyer in private practice, and he's here tonight in person. mr. johnson, it's great to see you. >> thank you for having me back, rachel. >> 18 months ago, it was announced anwar al awlaki was killed, but not that we killed him. why wouldn't we have said before
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that we killed him, and why could it be said now, why should it be said now? >> well, any disclosure of that nature, which today involved declassifying certain things, involves careful consideration. we think about the consequences in a variety of context, and i think what we saw today was the result of continued efforts at transparency. when i was in office, i, john brennan, the attorney general, harold coe, gave a number of speeches on the legal foundations of our efforts. last year we declassified the military's counterterrorism efforts in yemen and somalia, and so the conversation about acknowledging anwar al awlaki, who was a u.s. citizen, and acknowledging there were three other u.s. citizens who were not targeted, but who were killed as a result of our actions, was something that has began a while
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ago, has been going on for quite some time. and there were a number of people in government, the president most prominently, who thought and believe, obviously, that if a u.s. citizen who is involved in terrorist activities against the united states, is the target of lethal force, our government should acknowledge that, so this is the result of those discussions, obviously. >> with this letter today, it is the acknowledgment of what was widely believed already to be true about anwar al awlaki. his son, another young man who was killed at the same time he was killed, and now a third man who was not clear before today had been killed in these kinds of efforts, they are all described as being killed by the united states but not as having been specifically targeted. >> i think you could remove the word specifically from that sentence. >> not targeted at all. they are saying it was an accident. >> effectively saying that they were not targeted as part of
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those specific operations. >> but killed anyway? >> but they were obviously killed. >> doesn't that -- shouldn't that afford their family some kind of recourse? >> that is a very good question. i think you should put that to the department of justice. >> if i were putting it to you as a lawyer in private practice who knows from these things, what would you say? >> like i said, it's an interesting question, doesn't come up too often in my private practice, but it's an important question. as you probably know, anwar al awlaki's father brought a second lawsuit after his son was killed for wrongful death, seeking damages for the loss of his son and his grandson, and i believe that lawsuit is still pending right now. >> one of the things that arose in the renewed congressional attention to these matters, particularly around john brennan's nomination to be head of the cia, was whether or not people who were being targeted by the u.s. government had a right to surrender, and if they don't know they were being targeted, you don't have a right
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to surrender, because you don't know it's coming until it happens. as changes are being made around the way the government talks about these things, are there ways that you could foresee that issue be addressed? >> yes, actually, it's in that letter that was issued today. the government acknowledged anwar al awlaki. we acknowledged three other u.s. citizens who were killed in counterterrorism operations that were not targeted, but in addition, set forth in that letter is effectively a new standard for our counterterrorism activities, that the individual must be a continuing and imminent threat to americans and that capture should not be feasible. those standards previously were only in place when it comes to u.s. citizens, and what the letter discloses is that from this point forward, and this is probably been in place for awhile now, that standard will be in place for any targeted lethal force off the so-called hot battlefield, and that's a pretty rigorous standard, and i
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think it's an acknowledgment that we are moving to a different phase in our counterterrorism efforts. we've been in a so-called arm conflict now for almost the last 12 years, since 9/11, that is involved the u.s. military, other assets of the u.s. government, and we're now in a different phase. some call it an inflection point, where core al qaeda has been effectively disseminated, captured or killed, and we see splinter groups, we see affiliates in north africa, in other places, and so i think what you're seeing now is an acknowledgment we need to move away from conventional armed conflict to the more traditional approaches to counterterrorism where you have intelligence assets, law enforcement assets, the military in reserve, and the bar is going to be really high when it comes to targeted lethal force. to me, that is actually probably going forward the most
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significant thing in the attorney general's letter. >> you were the one who said we should start looking for that inflection point, and i think there's going to be great debate when we hear it in the speech tomorrow from the president about whether or not that's it. there's one other matter that i wanted to ask you about, though, totally different part of what your responsibilities were as general counsel, and that is the issue of the military really struggling with this problem of sexual assault. it's another just terrible set of charges levied today, in this case, a staff member at west point, but we saw this top-ranking u.s. air force lieutenant colonel who is in charge of sexual assault himself arrested in a related case. >> all in the category of you can't make this stuff up. >> it's unbelievable. but the scale of the problem seems like it is, both, getting worse and the milita has not been able to handle it itself.
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are there short comings in the military's justice system that make it so this isn't being treated seriously enough and victims don't trust the system? >> i have recently come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is, yes. we saw a recent report there were an estimated 26,000 inappropriate advances, sexual advances, within the military in fy-2012, in that same period, only about 3,300 get reported and only about 300 or so end up in criminal convictions in our military justice system. we've tried a lot of different things. we've tried additional training, we've tried better resources, assets for investigations, we've tried victims counseling. last year secretary panetta raised the initial -- the initial disposition authority for how these cases should be handled to the 06 colonel captain level, and the problem, i believe, has become so pervasive. the bad behavior is so pervasive.
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we need to look at fundamental change in the military justice system itself. there's something like 16 bills pending right now in congress. some of them would change the system. i think they are all worthy of consideration, and there's a panel that's been appointed by the secretary and the congress to look at all this and they have to be sensitive to the political calendar, but i think that this panel should look at all the options. >> jeh johnson, former general counsel at the pentagon, i think you just made a lot of news here tonight. thank you for being here and willing to do it on this show. nice to see you. >> thanks, rachel. taking the fifth today in baroque and entertaining style. that's it. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but
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a big change today on a story that we have been covering for months now. the veterans administration, as you know, has built up this huge backlog of hundreds of thousands of disability claims from veterans, disabled vets, waiting a year, waiting longer than that, just to even hear from the v.a. about the status of their claims. there are a lot of different reasons for the backlog, a lot of veterans coming home after 12 years of war, disabilities that are complicated to diagnose, lots of types of claims from older veterans that have not
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been accepted before, but now they will be accepted. too much recordkeeping being done on paper -- there's lots of reasons. one of the big reasons is the fact your records when you're active duty in the defense department are kept under a totally different, incompatible system from your records when you are in the v.a., once you're a veteran and when you are out. today, that particular problem changed, maybe. today the defense secretary chuck hagel announced that the pentagon is going to get a whole new huge system for its computerized medical records. that is in part because of the hope that the new system might integrate better with the system over at the v.a. now, the pentagon had just considered dumping their own system and adopting the v.a. system for the defense department so everybody would be on one big system and there would be no issue with integration, but when they looked into it, they decided, no, let's build our own new thing instead. maybe that will help the backlog, maybe it will set it back even further, but it's an enormous change that will affect millions of americans.
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i have not done anything wrong. i have not broken any laws. i have not violated any irs rules or regulations, and i have not provided false information
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to this or any other congressional committee. and while i would very much like to answer the committee's questions today, i've been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing. after very careful consideration, i've decided to follow my counsel's advice and not testify or answer any of the questions today. >> if you're going to take the fifth, that is, like, the deluxe version of taking the fifth, right? when a person pleads the fifth, they are referencing the specific part of that amendment to the constitution that says that a person cannot be forced to be a witness against himself. the irs official who heads the division that has been caught up in this scandal about processing applications from ideologically specific groups, she pled the fifth today because she said she believed the committee was trying to get her to say things on record under oath, essentially for the purpose of prosecuting her for those
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statements, even though she says she has done nothing wrong. some members of the committee appeared enraged today she tried to explain even that much while still refusing to take their questions, but that is what she did. and then members of the committee, both republican and democratic, proceeded to shred both her and the agency as a whole over the course of the whole afternoon, including a series of particularly grueling exchanges with the guy who doesn't even work there anymore, the george w. bush appointed former head of the irs, who hasn't even worked there since late last year. >> at no point in the letter did ms. lerner mention that irs officials were conducting their own internal review, and mr. shulman, why did she admit that fact? >> i -- i'm not familiar with that letter. i'm sorry. >> and, in fact, ms. lerner never informed the committee of what was happening in the irs tax exempt status in any way,
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and i just would like to ask you, do you think it's appropriate for the irs to send such a misleading response back to this committee? >> i'd have to look at the whole response and, you know, if it came from ms. lerner, it's very unlikely that, you know, i knew about it or reviewed it. >> well, i would say that we're all outraged, but it's not too early to start talking about what we can do to fix it. >> that's, essentially, the baseline starting point on this one, we're all outraged. the question is not only about what can be done to fix it, but whether we fully understand the scope of what the problem is already. joining us now is congressman carolyn maloney of new york, we saw in the footage of the hearing, a member of the house oversight and government reform committee. congresswoman, thanks very much for your time tonight, nice to have you here. >> great to be here. >> this was the third hearing on this topic so far.
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do you feel you've been getting the answers you need from these irs officials who have appeared before your committee? >> well, not yet. those of us who want to get to the facts and we were very disappointed that -- and frustrated that she pled the fifth amendment today. it is her constitutional right, but you have to understand that we are confronting four different investigations. the department of justice has a criminal investigation, the house has an investigation, i.g. george is going to continue with his audit and investigation and the senate has investigation. we have a hearing when we come back in a week from now with the new director wurdle and so there is a lot of work to get the answers and the truth. >> so from what you have been able to discern thus far, more needs to be asked and forthcoming from the agency, itself, but does it seem to you thus far like a screwup or does it seem to you that there is any evidence that this is directed
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as a political tactic to try to hurt conservatives? >> well, i would say, i would say rachel, it's that we are united for once the democrats and the republicans in the outrage and we are united in the incompetence. they had people who were appointed by republicans and by democrats that participate d in this really misjudgment, incompetence, screwup, whatever you want to call it, so what we did learn is that the irs had their own investigation that they did not inform the white house or congress about. we learned that there was no outside influence from any direction, and it was a totally irs operation, and we know that the investigation is ongoing. >> are the guidelines surrounding this part of the tax code, this whole 501c part of the tax code in terms of groups getting assessed for the tax exemption status, do you think
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that the guidelines in the code are clear enough or are that i am big wous enough that there is necessarily going to be some kind of error here if not abuse? >> they are extremely vague. there's definite guidance needed to be clear about it. i for one do not understand why you are being granted a tax exempt status if 49% of your activities can be be political. the whole purpose of the not-for-profits is to be for a social benefit to help people. i, for one, would support legislation that would ban any political activity if you are getting a tax exempt status and also carries the cover that you can contribute to these 501c-4s and not be disclosed, and so that is also a problem when you are trying to influence politics or elections. >> in the midst of scandal, it is the worst possible time to
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look at big complicated problems, but we may see that once the scandal is fixed, the big complicated problem may still exist. thank you, congresswoman, for joining us. >> thank you, rachel. >> and as if a natural disaster were not bad enough, we have crazy pants theorists who attempt to explain the problem. that is coming up next. [ engine revving ] ♪ [ male announcer ] every car we build must make adrenaline pump and pulses quicken. ♪ to help you not just to stay alive...
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our country needs more college grads to help fill all the open technology jobs. to help meet that need, here at devry university, we're offering $4 million dollars in tech scholarships for qualified new students. learn more at devry.edu. two things happened recently that are related, and they do not seem related at first, but trust me, they are related. stick with me. the first thing, a small piece of one of the planes that was used on 9/11 being found wedged in an alley way not far from ground zero. first reported to be part of the landing gear, we learned it came from under the wing. thing one. a couple days later, thing two,
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republicans on the house oversight committee had a joint hearing on the amount of ammunition the department of homeland security has on hand. if the federal government has more bullets than the general population, how are we going to defend ourselves in the fight against the government? can't get the government get the upper hand in the weapons race. next thing you know, they'll have a standing army and bombs to take out whole cities and stuff. republicans in the house and senate followed up the ammo thing with an actual bill, an actual piece of legislation that's supposed to prevent the government from buying too many bullets. yes, this is the same federal government that already stock piles abrams tanks and armed drone and giant intercontinental missiles that can carry weapons, all that, yes, but excess bullets that republicans decide is the worrying firepower. that worry was so crazy, so out there, that even the national rifle association won't touch it with a ten foot rifle.
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and yes, the conspiracy theory about the government having too many bullets is nuts, but not out of nowhere. that conspiracy theory from the mother of all conspiracy theories, an internet talk show called info wars. this is the same guy selling the idea that the massacre at sandy hook elementary school and massacre at aurora, colorado were actually fake, they were faked as an excuse to take away our guns, enslave us to the giant wasps beneath the u.n. building, he says the boston bombing was faked for political purposes. the same guy who says he doesn't believe that the colombia space shuttle disaster happened, and doesn't believe that there was an oklahoma city bombing. naturally, of course, he knows and sells the idea that 9/11 was an inside job, so that landing gear, that must be faked, too, the conspiracy continues. and every tragedy, the info wars alex jones world thinks they see conspiracy. monday's devastating record breaking tornado in moore,
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oklahoma, killed two dozen people, flattened a community, devastating, right? now, i am not kidding, the same conspiracy theory folks pedal the idea the tornado was a conspiracy. seriously, the tornado was a conspiracy. >> and tornadoes are way down, they lie on the way up to get carbon taxes, but i don't know if this was a weather weapon or not, but they can with the right weather conditions, they can create and steer groups of tornadoes. people 50 miles out of storm systems see aircraft in and around the clouds spraying and doing things, if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this. but who knows if they did, that's the thing. >> who knows? who knows if the u.s. government uses a secret made up weather weapon that only exists in the mind of -- yeah, that's the thing, right? here's the other thing. alex jones should be disqualified from participating
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